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Title: A constructive, conceptual analytical review of the Community of Inquiry Framework
Author: Peacock, Susi
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 499X
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis comprises a critical review and suggestions for enhancement of the Community of Inquiry Framework (CoIF), the frequently cited model of collaborative community-based online learning. It combines a systematic engagement of relevant literature and research, with the application of the CoIF thinking to six of my peer-reviewed publications. Although not initially conceived as forming part of a doctorate submission, these publications are drawn upon throughout this narrative, to assist my interrogation of the CoIF. They are also used to provide evidence of my continuing journey as an education researcher. This thesis is therefore not an exegesis – a traditional meta-narrative encompassing this candidate’s publications. It moves beyond my findings in the publications to create and present supplementary concepts, and develop pointed guidance about using the Framework in supporting online learning in tertiary education. My review first critically interrogates the three constituent elements or Presences of the CoIF. Social presence emerges as a highly complex and multi-faceted construct, in which the de-emphasising of the affective in the CoIF seems at variance with current research reporting the strong student emotional response to working online, and particularly in collaborative, community-based groupings. Then, in Cognitive presence, there has been little consideration of, and specificity about, reflection in the CoIF. My critique proposes that reflection and critical thinking are distinct but inter-related concepts; both of which need to be addressed. Teaching presence is renamed ‘Tutoring presence’ informed by my review based upon my emergent understandings of student-centred learning. Two enhancements to the CoIF are then proposed, together with the rationale for establishment of a Tutors’ Network. The first enhancement, referred to as 'the Influences,’ unites and enriches the individual Presences. The second argues for the existence and use of a personal learning retreat at the heart of a community of inquiry, addressing a perceived omission in the CoIF. This learner ‘space’ provides a ‘quiet, safe place’ for the private (internal) world of the learner, as a foil to the shared collaborative space in the CoIF (the external world). Finally, a Tutors’ Network is outlined as a vehicle for advancing their understandings and knowledge of online, collaborative, community-based learning in general, and in particular of communities of inquiry. This should develop the abilities of online tutors, improve their learners’ educational experiences and encourage research and scholarship into the CoIF.
Supervisor: Brosnan, Kevin; Field, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: online learning ; community of inquiry ; social presence ; cognitive presence ; teaching presence ; emotion ; reflection ; critical thinking ; student-centred learning ; PhD by publication ; intermental ; intramental ; Community learning ; Adult learning--Social aspects ; Internet in higher education ; Teacher-student relationships